Manchester United raised a few eyebrows when they decided to fork out £45 million on Andre Onana, who was viewed as an ideal replacement for out-of-contract club legend David De Gea.
Some would argue the goalkeeping department shouldn’t have been a priority, considering De Gea had excelled in his role over the years. But Erik ten Hag wanted a familiar figure between the sticks and got his wish.
While Onana’s acquisition divided opinions, Man United were getting a reputable goalkeeper with enormous talent whose achievements with Inter Milan certainly matched his valuation.
Lauded as one of the best in his position with the ball at his feet, Man United and Ten Hag understood they were getting arguably the world’s calmest and most confident goalkeepers in possession.
Onana suited Ten Hag’s style of play like a glove, which further rubberstamped the deal as perhaps Man United’s signing of the summer transfer window.
However, the unforgiving nature of the Premier League caught up with the Cameroonian shot-stopper, who has endured a torrid adaptation period at Old Trafford.
Onana is one of the world’s most outspoken and commanding goalkeepers who is not afraid to air his opinion, fueled by his innate drive for high-level performances from himself and his teammates.
He was expected to raise the bar of Man United’s backline, and his leadership were on show early in his Old Trafford career, berating ex-skipper Harry Maguire following a mistake that nearly led to a goal.
However, the table quickly turned on his head following a string of high-profile errors which contributed significantly to Man United’s worst start to a season in decades.
Confidence understandably began to trickle into non-existence, especially for someone of the Cameroonian’s profile who demands nothing but perfection, especially from himself.
But the tides have finally begun to turn in his favour in recent weeks, with Onana now showing signs of the world-class keeper Man United were determined to pry away from Inter’s heavily reluctant hands.
A last-minute penalty save in the 1-0 Champions League win over FC Copenhagen sparked the 27-year-old back into life, and there has been a visible improvement in his performances since.
Statistics have revealed that Onana currently boasts the second-most number of Premier League clean sheets (four), with only Newcastle United’s Nick Pope and Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone surpassing his record (five each).
The ex-Ajax shot-stopper also boasts the third-best save percentage in the Premier League (76.7%), averaging 3.8 saves per 90 and ranking fourth amongst keepers in the division.
Man United are striving to shake off a difficult period that places them in sixth place, only five points adrift of the top four, and it’s no coincidence that Onana’s renaissance aligns perfectly with their re-emergence.
Stats from Statman Dave.
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